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Adventures in Guangzhou

CHINA | Wednesday, 19 November 2008 | Views [589]

The idea of keeping a travel blog is a fantastic one in theroy, until you realise that it's almost impossible to update it as much as you'd like. It has been too long since I wrote in here. I even have one previous update that I'm still in the middle of wirting!

Anyway, I've had an exciting and eventful week here in Guangzhou (Canton). Dad and I arrived last Thursday evening and we spent a few days exploring the city (including going to the British consulate so I could apply for British citizenship). Guangzhou city is massive and everything you could ask for his within footsteps of the main city center. We even found a little Irish pub called 'The Paddy Feild'. They do amazing food in there, not to mention pints of Guinness and other world beers.

Long story short, on Friday we met some new friends at The Paddy Feild and I decided to stick around in Ghangzhou while Dad when back to Zhangzhou. He left on Sunday morning and I changed hotels to one just outside of the city.

It was nice to hang out with some new people for a few days and these guys were really friendly. I'm aware of the risk involved when it comes to meeting new people in a strange country, but I had my own hotel room and was just hanging out with them, so its really not a big deal. There was Leith and Roger, two young British guys, Mark and Ian, two middle aged Aussie guys and a few other assorted people, most of whom I didn't really get to know.

We tried some delicious food and drank beer together, but in the end I decided that I'd head back into the city center alone. Basically these guys are here for business (they work for an airship company) and were out working every day or night, so I got bored being on my own most of the time, especially being out of the city. In the three days I was there I did get out and explore the town, although there wasn't much to see really. Anyway, it's very hard to get to know people when they're constantly working, so I think it's for the best that we went our seperate ways.

This morning I took a taxi back into Guangzhou city center and checked into a very nice hotel, which is where I am currently. The hotel is expensive by Chinese standards, but I think you'd be hard pressed to find such a good hotel for this price in Sydney! Everything I need is around this area of the city, including a Subway (a lifesaver when you're sick of Chinese food and craving a sandwich!), coffee shops, pubs, clothing shops, chemists, supermarkets, fruit shops, resturants and there's even a little 24hr 7 eleven right outside the front of the hotel.

Guangzhou is a massive change from Zhangzhou, which is where I've spend most of my time. I never thought I'd be excited to see a Subway, but you can't get sandwiches or coffee in Zhangzhou for love nor money, so it's a welcome sight after six weeks. Its also very multicultural here, I've seen (and heard) many, Russians, Americans, Brits, Irish, Africans, Middle Easterners, not to mention the odd Aussie (although they were mainly huddled inside the Irish pub necking beers! hehe).

Traveling by your self is something I wanted to experience and I must say it does get lonley, but in the end I think its something everyone should try. You get a tremendous sence of independence and although its not easy traveling alone as a woman, I think its usually okay as long as you use your common sence. For example, I'm not venturing out by my self at night. I had no problems doing this in Sydney and I would have no problems doing it in an English speaking country, but not speaking the language can sometimes land you in trouble. If you were to yell for help no one would understand you! I still think the two best purchaces I've made for my travels are 1) a whistle - in China people hear a whistle and they KNOW something is wrong, so you can do that instead of hopelessly yelling out help. 2) a calculator - I bought one the other day and its come in handy several times since then. Haggling here is a big deal. When there are no marked prices, it usually means HAGGLE! And although I know the numbers (I know 1-10 and a few others) it doesn't always help because there is a lot of slang used in different areas of China. So being able to hand someone a calculator to find out the price and then type in your own (hehe), is a huge plus. Once you know the basic value of things and you know how to say "that's too expensive!" (which I do), you're pretty much fine.

My plan from here is this: I'm checked into this hotel in Guangzhou for two nights (tonight and tomorrow night), and tomorrow after breakfast (oh my god they have bacon and eggs here!) I will take my phrase book, postcards (for showing to taxi drivers) and card with the Chinese spelling of the hotel on it and head off for some sightseeing. There's not a huge amount of tourist attractions here in Guangzhou, but there are a few and I will take this opportunity to go and see them.

Then on Friday after checking out, I will head to Hong Kong for a few days. I'm SO close to Hong Kong here that it would be stupid not to go and check it out. I'm currently searching for a cheap hotel and tomorrow I will get the hotels concierge to organise a three day Hong Kong visa. I believe the trip takes about an hour by train and then you get a ferry over to Hong Kong island. From Hong Kong I can either fly to Beijing or fly back to Xiamen (and then back to Zhangzhou).

So that's what's been happening lately! I will try to update as much as possible, but I don't always have the time or internet access! Much love to everyone in Sydney (especially my Mum and Lex, who probably read this blog more than anyone else), I hope you're all well. I miss you all so much and am thinking of everyone all the time. xoxoxoxox

(also, I can't put up photos here because I have no USB cable but when I get back to Zhangzhou be prepared for a barrage of photos from my travels.)

Outside the Irish pub 'The Paddy Feilds' in Guangzhou with Leith and Mark.

Outside the Irish pub 'The Paddy Feilds' in Guangzhou with Leith and Mark.


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